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Lights, Camera, Action – Home Video Services for Everyone

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August 27, 2010
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Lights, Camera, Action – Home Video Services for Everyone

One of the ten biggest innovations in home security over the past decade is the development of functional and affordable video services. Europe is said to be ahead of the US in this regard, but we’re catching up - fast. One telling indicator is the explosive growth in video product and service providers. I can tell when I attend our alarm industry trade shows, where they now allocate entire sections to the video suppliers.


What Can Video Do?

Video service (or CCTV, as we used to call it, short for “Closed Circuit TeleVision”) was traditionally a high-end application, and centered as much on recording and review of tapes as live viewing. Remember those VCR’s?! The Internet and the digital age changed all that: video storage is still important, and today we use DVR’s (Digital Video Recorders) to hold terabytes of data. If that’s a new term, think of 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica – or 300 hours of good quality video – and that’s a terabyte. The more important shift, though, is toward live video viewing. Now think Skype, except you are viewing what’s going on in your home real-time. I use my BlackBerry app and our home cameras to check out the inside and outside from time to time – yup, someone did remember to bring in those cushions off the deck furniture! It’s all part of feeling connected to your home.

Now add in video analytics – all the rage these days. The same technology that allows high security cameras to identify fixed objects that were removed, or suspicious objects suddenly added where there was nothing before, is available to you today. These cameras can sense motion: when they do, they create a video clip and send it to you real-time, as well as storing it at a remote site where you can retrieve it, and download it later. You can even program the camera to ignore motion in specified portions of the frame. Hey, the kids just got home from school – but who is that with them? If I want to see more, I log in to view for as long as I want. And I control the privacy: only I can see the clips or video.

How About the Cameras?

Indoor cameras are usually wireless, so they send video through your home Wi-Fi and over the Internet – they just need to be plugged in for power. The good ones are color, with a high-resolution image and low-light operation. Look for fixed cameras with a wide-angle lens, and even “pan & tilt” models that you control remotely, even from your iPhone. Outdoor cameras tend to be hard-wired (and powered over the Ethernet connection), and are often infra-red equipped for operation in complete darkness. These cameras don’t have to be expensive, and neither do the services that support them, but not every alarm company offers them. You will have more luck with the alarm providers who specialize in next-generation, wireless home security – which is not the “big boys” that usually spring to mind.

Great Video Stories

FrontPoint Security is one of the leading nationwide providers of these video products and services, as part of our suite of interactive services that includes remote arm/disarm, special apps, text and email notifications, and soon even “smart home” control of locks, lights, and thermostat.  Every week we receive more great stories from our customers about how their FrontPoint cameras solved a mystery, or gave them greater peace of mind. One my favorites is the customer from upstate New York, who was able to record the license plate of the car driven by trespassers who were poaching deer on her property – with a camera pointed out the front window. Another customer had footage of his neighbor “borrowing” some presents left by UPS on the customer’s front porch just before Christmas. And that’s just a sample of how these products can be used. So set up your FrontPoint camera and get ready to roll – we’ll keep an eye out for you!


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September 5, 2010 at 3:57 PM
Love the examples you provide, Peter: package thieves, license plate numbers, etc. Great posts in general. I may not always have anything of substance to add, but I still enjoy reading them.
September 5, 2010 at 3:57 PM
Love the examples you provide, Peter: package thieves, license plate numbers, etc. Great posts in general. I may not always have anything of substance to add, but I still enjoy reading them.
Richard Sager
January 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM
I only wish I could have a video system in my home!!!!! Come on Technology. I live in the country and I don't have a phone line or cable line. This was one big reason I went wireless and chose Front Point. I love everything about Front Point, the ease of installation, the monitoring (they really do) as wells as the assistance I get when I call to ask a question. I think I have had Front Point for 5 years now and not a single complaint.. Okay I have two. As stated earlier... I want video but that's what I get for living in the middle of nowhere. Secondly, opening the motion sensors... those things are like impossible open but 5 years later, they still work just fine with the same battery inside. I work 20 miles from home, the peace I have knowing my home and kids (pets) are protected is priceless. I have puppies and a very large lizard as pets. If the power goes out the Lizard could freeze to death and if there were a fire.. all could perish. Thank God for your system!!! From Windows to Doors to Smoke Detectors you have my back. Looking next to getting a basement water detection senor from Front Point and besides that, just hope one day there will be wireless video monitoring capabilities so I can see what's going on at home when I'm not there. But no matter, for the past five years I just say thank you for the peace of mind and a lot less gray hairs.
Peter M. Rogers
January 17, 2014 at 4:56 PM
Richard - thanks for your comment. Sorry about the video: at this point, it is just not practical to push video content over a cellular connection, especially if you want color, high resolution, and good quality. etc. But when it can be done, I bet our technology partners at will be the ones to figure it out! As for the motion sensors, next time you want to open one, give the folks in Support a call - and they will walk you though what may be an easier method. As you might imagine, we have lots of experience with this. And finally, thanks for all your kind words about our service, and how we have helped provide you with peace of mind: nothing is more important to us.
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